Yerushalayim-Area Fire Under Control For Now

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of a fire near moshav Giva’at Ye’arim, Monday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel Fire and Rescue Services Commissioner Dedi Simchi announced that there is no reason to call in assistance from other countries to help contain the massive wildfires burning around Jerusalem since Sunday, Israel Hayom reports.

Chief of the Jerusalem District Fire and Rescue Services Nissim Twito said, “in the next few hours, with comfortable weather and high humidity, we will make a concentrated effort to put out the localized fires still burning in Shoeva, Beit Meir, Ramat Raziel, Eitanim, and Givat Yaarim.”

While Israel is cautiously optimistic it can forgo international aid, the Israeli Air Force has been called up, with Super-Hercules aircraft, although not originally intended for use in firefighting, scrambled into service to dump flame retardant on the active fires.

The fire has burned some 5,000 acres of forested land on the outskirts of Jerusalem since it erupted Sunday afternoon and has died down somewhat.

As of Tuesday morning, Highway 395 was still closed in both directions. Residents of Ramat Raziel and Kislon were allowed to use the road to get home if they showed proof of address. Highway 386 was shut down out of concern that the fire could spread to the road. Highway 3955 between Shoeva Square and Beir Meir was open.

On Monday evening, after the fires forced thousands of residents of communities west of Jerusalem to evacuate their homes, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ordered Bar-Lev and the National Security Council to reach out for international help getting the fire under control.

Bennett also instructed the Defense Ministry and the IDF to do all they could to help the firefighting, evacuation, and rescue efforts. He also said that the possibility of calling in the Israeli Air Force to supply additional air support should be examined.

Simchi confirmed that the fire had been caused by people, although whether it was a case of negligence or arson was still unclear.